The Pros and (Mostly) Cons of Balance Transfer Credit Cards

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By Geoff Williams

So you have credit card debt. Maybe a lot. What’s more, it’s on a high-interest credit card, and it’s killing you. So you’ve stumbled on the idea of doing a balance transfer to a lower-interest, or maybe even a zero-interest, credit card.

And why not? Many cards like these exist, offering zero balance – sometimes for as long as 18 months.

If that’s your plan, some congratulations or sympathetic mutterings are in order. You’re either about to make a shrewd financial move, one that will save you potentially thousands of dollars – or you’re about to make a classically dumb decision, one that could potentially haunt you for years to come.

You probably know why it’s a good or bad idea. If you transfer revolving debt that you’re paying a lot of interest on to another card, and you pay off the debt, that’s good. If you transfer money to another card, and the debt remains – and you end up racking up revolving debt on that credit card, too – then that’s very bad.

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